A Nigerian medical student took it upon himself to address a major issue in the healthcare industry: the lack of Black representation in textbooks and diagrams.
Chidiebere Sunday Ibe, 25, recently went viral after sharing a drawing he made of a Black mother and fetus on social media. According to Artnet.com reports, the first-year student at Ukraine’s Kyiv Medical University taught himself to draw while on lockdown and has been spreading the message of medical equity and inclusion ever since.
“Textbooks are essential to medical training,” the Ebonyi State native wrote in a video on YouTube. “They walk medical trainees through conditions they will encounter during their practice. The skin is an important organ that protects us and can signal when something is wrong in our body.
Yet, most medical illustrations are based on Caucasian skin. This lack of diversity has important implications for medical trainees and their future patients because many conditions and signs look different based on the patient’s skin color.”
Ibe currently works as the Journal of Global Neurosurgery’s chief medical illustrator and creative director.
His drawing has caught the interest of people all over the world, garnering over 88,000 likes on Instagram since December 2. For many people, seeing his work was the first time they saw a medical illustration of a Black person.
“This image was created like every other image; I never expected it to be viral,” he said. “The whole purpose was to keep talking about what I’m passionate about—equity in healthcare—and also to show the beauty of Black people…I feel great seeing it going viral, I never expected it, and it feels good that the message is out and it will challenge current systems.”